A Beginner’s Guide to Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil

(Wiley-Blackwell, 2008)

Nietzsche’s Beyond Good And Evil is, without doubt, one of the landmark works of modern philosophy. First published in 1886, it contained the author’s mature thinking on such topics as truth, God, morality and the Will to Power, and unleashed a radical new philosophical sensibility which was to have an enormous impact on the intellectual and political landscape of the 20th century. A Beginner’s Guide To Nietzsche’s ‘Beyond Good And Evil’ offers a concise and readable summary of this difficult text, geared toward students embarking on their studies (at A-level, or on undergraduate degree courses) and general readers. Highly illustrated, including numerous tables, diagrams and drawings, it provides a clear explanation of the ideas, arguments and terminology to be found in Nietzsche’s often enigmatic prose, and balances this with critical analysis. It also provides references to further readings, a glossary of difficult terms and relevant biographical and historical information, making A Beginner’s Guide To Nietzsche’s ‘Beyond Good And Evil’ an ideal companion for those new to the study of this challenging and often misunderstood classic.

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Anyone teaching Beyond Good And Evil will want to keep a copy of this close to hand. For those who are familiar with the text it will help to reinvigorate their approach, and for those teaching the text for the first time it will provide an excellent guide to the complexities of Nietzsche’s ideas.

George Mcwilliams, Head Of Philosophy And Ethics, Ullswater Community College

Gareth Southwell’s Beginner’s Guide is an outstanding introduction to Nietzsche’s text: lively and approachable in tone, yet rigorous and insightful in its handling of the material. A comprehensive and well-informed treatment, this book judiciously blends detailed analysis and illuminating explanation with more wide-ranging discussion.

Duncan Large, Swansea University and the Friedrich Nietzsche Society

Beyond Good and Evil, much like Nietzsche’s philosophy generally, is something of a conundrum. This guide by Gareth Southwell provides clear explanations of all the individual sections of the text, as well as drawing together the key themes that arise throughout. As a teacher, I found it particularly helpful due to the inclusion of plenty of evaluation points, something normally lacking in analyses of Nietzsche’s work but essential to prepare students for their A level examinations. I recommended it to my students this year and was heartened to see a number of copies make their way into the classroom. I’m convinced that this guide will greatly improve their revision for this unit. More guides on more areas of philosophy please Gareth!

N. Condliffe, Amazon Review (5 stars)

An Excellent Introduction to Nietzsche. Nietzsche is a thinker whose writing resembles what can only be described as a riddle. Much of it consists of hints, statements and inferences that have to be deduced by those in the know. At one point I became so frustrated with BGE that I compared Nietzsche with the weavers in the Hans Christian Anderson tale of The Emperor’s New Clothes. However Gareth Southwell’s book proved to be an eye-opener. It successfully unpacks the abstract and obscure nature of Nietzsche’s writing rendering it into comprehensible prose. For readers who are coming across Nietzsche generally and BGE in particular for the first time, this book is an an essential guide.

Ashook Meah, Waterstones (5 stars)